Mount Susitna, Susitna River Delta

Mount Susitna, Susitna River Delta

by | Sep 29, 2018

The Susitna River is the 15th largest river in the United States ranked by volume. The river runs for 313 miles (504 km), with 9 major tributaries, from the Susitna Glacier in the Alaska Range to Cook Inlet. The Dena’ina name means “sandy river” and was first published on Russian charts in 1847. The Susitna River is a major salmon spawning habitat even though it freezes over between November and April.

A massive hydroelectric power project has been proposed for the Susitna River and a two-dam scenario was studied in the early 1980s. The original project consisted of a concrete arch high dam at Devils Canyon that would flood a deep gorge and famous whitewater rapids, and farther upstream an earthen dam at Watana would flood the upper river valley. This project was canceled due to costs exceeding $5 Billion. This was followed by a study for a one-dam scenario that was canceled in 2016 for environmental and economic reasons.

Mount Susitna is a prominent landmark, with an elevation of 4,396 feet (1,340 m), located on the west bank of the river delta and across Cook Inlet from the city of Anchorage. The mountain is locally called The Sleeping Lady from the distinctive profile and a Dena’ina Athabascan story of a giant lady who said she would lie down by the river. Read more here and here. Explore more of the Susitna River Delta here:

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This ‘warming stripe’ graphic is a visual representation of the change in global temperature from 1850 (top) to 2019 (bottom). Each stripe represents the average global temperature for one year. The average temperature from 1971-2000 is set as the boundary between blue and red. The colour scale goes from -0.7°C to +0.7°C. The data are from the UK Met Office HadCRUT4.6 dataset. 

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